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Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Prior to War: Debate, then Vote

Interesting exchange about the legitimacy of America's wars, from the October 1, 2014, The Colbert Report.
Stephen: Can I tell you why I think the American people might be tired of it? And want to go back to bed? And I’m speaking for myself, and, therefore, the American people. We’re asked to be afraid of it. You get to think about it all the time or you did get to think about it all the time and say to yourself, “You know what? That little corner of the desert looks like it could blow up real good. Let’s go over there.” Whereas, we’re asked to be afraid of it and we’re reminded to be afraid of it, but we no longer have much of a voice in it because our Congressional representatives won’t vote on whether we’re supposed to do anything about it. We’re not asked to sacrifice that much for it. Very few of us go fight. And we’re also not told all that much about what’s happening over there. So, all we have is the fear and none of the action. And so we eventually want to stop thinking about it. And that’s why that 25,000-man mercenary army starts to sound good. We also want to stop caring about what happens to our men and women who go over there, because we don’t want them to sacrifice for something that we don’t think is right. And yet we don’t have much voice in it anymore. 
Adm. Mike Mullen: So, you bring up a concern that I have with respect to a growing disconnect between the men and women who serve in this all-volunteer force, who are the best I’ve ever seen. They’re less than 1% of the population. They come from fewer and fewer places in America. And the American people who didn’t have to buy into these wars, as you said – and I agree with that – and certainly the vast, vast majority didn’t have to fight in them, don’t know who we are as a military. And in fact – and I’ve said this many times – what I actually do worry about is that we become some version of something like the French Foreign Legion, which is please go off and fight our dirty little wars and let us get on with our lives. And I think that’s a disaster for America. We need to be connected to the American people and we need to do that through the system that’s here; those that are elected. And I certainly agree that those who are elected ought to vote on what we do. And we ought to have a fulsome, raging debate about that in this country.
Mullen is absolutely correct. Where is the public and legislative debate -- followed by a congressional vote?

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